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Good Bye Tony
September 7, 2006 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Tony Blair announces that he will resign as UK Prime Minister. Just broadcast on BBC. Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, is expected to be nominated by Labour party as the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Blair hasn't set a date for departure.
posted by three blind mice (71 comments total)

 
Sometime next year
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:16 AM on September 7, 2006


Tony Blair announces that he will resign as UK Prime Minister.

He announced that 2 years ago. Not much has changed.
posted by cillit bang at 7:18 AM on September 7, 2006


Damn it, you got me all worked up cos I thought you meant NOW. This isn't news.
posted by Orange Goblin at 7:21 AM on September 7, 2006


(well, a lot has changed, but the fact he's going to resign isn't news)
posted by cillit bang at 7:22 AM on September 7, 2006


What Orange Goblin said. I thought the resignation of the cabinet ministers had actually prompted him to pack his bags at No. 10.
posted by Zinger at 7:22 AM on September 7, 2006


for goodness sake, this is not news. He is not resigning now. He had to set a date for departure or he would have been ripped to shreds by the Labour party.
posted by altolinguistic at 7:24 AM on September 7, 2006


be still my beating heart.
posted by bonaldi at 7:26 AM on September 7, 2006


Mr Blair's official spokesman said earlier that Mr Blair would not be "giving a running commentary" on exit dates.

Just the actual one would do, no?
posted by dreamsign at 7:27 AM on September 7, 2006


he still hasn't set a date ... really, i don't know why he doesn't resign now and get it over with, as he's a lame duck now ... or is he waiting for that magic moment in the polls when the conservatives aren't going to end up with the lead?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:27 AM on September 7, 2006


Blair announced nearly 4 years ago that he would not fight the next general election, but would resign before that time. What he has never said is when he will resign. The announcement has proven to be one of the worst ideas he has had as every single interview over the past few years has focussed on when precicely he will retire.

In the past few months, members of his own party have been pushing him for a date. Some have even signed a letter calling for him to resign immediately. Others demanding an announcement on a date have resigned from the cabinet, but they were only junior ministers. Everyone knows he has to go in the next 12 months if he is to give his successor time to prepare for the next election, so this isn't news.
posted by bap98189 at 7:28 AM on September 7, 2006


Crap. For a minute there I thought the bastard was going straight away.
posted by veedubya at 7:29 AM on September 7, 2006


Now if we could only convince Bush to follow suit...
posted by rand at 7:44 AM on September 7, 2006


Announcing a specific date would only serve to embolden the enemy.
posted by prostyle at 7:54 AM on September 7, 2006


This isn't news! The front page of Metafilter is for the posting of NEWS ONLY, preferrably in one or two link format. Delete this supposed "news," immediately.
posted by fire&wings at 8:00 AM on September 7, 2006


After the last couple of days, it would have been newsworthy if he hadn't announced that he would quit within a year. The main story here is that Blair and Brown have, between them, completely ruined Labour's chances at the next election. The upside? If the economy tanks while Cameron's PM, Labour might be bold enough to write another "suicide note".

It's been 27 years since Britain has seen a truly left-of-center government. It'll probably be another 27 until they see one again.
posted by stammer at 8:04 AM on September 7, 2006


Pointless post. Did you honestly not know that this statement was just Blair reaffirming the position he's held on the issue of his departure for years now, three blind mice? The (slightly) bigger news is that Brown has broken silence and said he's supporting Blair's decision to, er, not make a decision.

Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, is expected to be nominated by Labour party as the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

And that's just bibble. The Labour Party has a democratic leadership election process - 40% of the vote is a one-member-one-vote poll of trades union members, 30% the Parliamentary Labour Party, 30% the Constituency Labour Party. Brown won't just magically be Prime Ministerified by the Party.
posted by jack_mo at 8:04 AM on September 7, 2006


I heard a Tony Blair story once.

Supposedly, he had to do some kind of photo-op to shore up his working-class credentials. So he pays a visit to some grubby little chipshop in a Northern town. The cameras are rolling. He points to a container of rank, slimy mushed peas and says "I'd like some of that avocado sauce, please."

Did this actually happen?
posted by jason's_planet at 8:05 AM on September 7, 2006


In other news, Paris Hilton will be celebrating her birthday next time it comes around.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:07 AM on September 7, 2006


Jason's Planet: I thought that was Peter Mandelson...
posted by ob at 8:09 AM on September 7, 2006


This isn't news!

Well, fire&wings, it's being treated as news by the BBC and most of the British press.

But, of course, I would expect supporters of the Bush administration to downplay it.
posted by three blind mice at 8:10 AM on September 7, 2006


jason's planet: I have heard that story attributed to Peter Mandleson, and it took place in Hartlepool.

And mushy peas are actually really rather nice.
posted by randomination at 8:10 AM on September 7, 2006


First Berlusconi, and now Blair. Only one more of the killer B's left.

Damn, I'd give my left nut for a Parlimentary system in the US right about now.
posted by mondo dentro at 8:10 AM on September 7, 2006


The main story here is that Blair and Brown have, between them, completely ruined Labour's chances at the next election.

That depends on when Tony actually goes, surely? If he sticks around for the next election with an implied 'Vote Blair (but only for a little bit, then it's Brown)' ticket, they will fuck it up. But it looks like he will - greedy fuck wants one last election.

The upside? If the economy tanks while Cameron's PM, Labour might be bold enough to write another "suicide note".

As vile as New Labour are, the word 'upside' doesn't belong anywhere near the idea of a Tory government.
posted by jack_mo at 8:11 AM on September 7, 2006


Is Blair resigning so that he can run for President in '08 here in the States? We could use an upgrade(?). IMHO
posted by jaronson at 8:12 AM on September 7, 2006


...but you fuck a goat once and...
posted by matteo at 8:13 AM on September 7, 2006


He has set a date, june of 2007 (or before).
posted by delmoi at 8:13 AM on September 7, 2006


Well, fire&wings, it's being treated as news by the BBC and most of the British press.

But not for the reasons you seem to think it is. Your whole post is wrong: Blair didn't announce anything, and Brown won't be 'nominated' as Prime Minister.
posted by jack_mo at 8:14 AM on September 7, 2006


Did you honestly not know that this statement was just Blair reaffirming the position he's held on the issue of his departure for years now, three blind mice?

Guess again jack_mo. Blair's announcement is in response to the resignations and this week's letter from Labour MPs calling for his resignation.

But if you weren't aware of yesterday's news, you can be forgiven for not recognizing today's.
posted by three blind mice at 8:16 AM on September 7, 2006


Brown won't be 'nominated' as Prime Minister.

I find it hard to believe he'll be anythinged as Prime Minister. That would be so boring.
posted by cillit bang at 8:17 AM on September 7, 2006


yes indeed jack_mo, Brown is likely to be elected Labour party leader, and as Labour will be the party in power at that time, he will become Prime Minister.
posted by altolinguistic at 8:18 AM on September 7, 2006


Blair didn't announce anything, and Brown won't be 'nominated' as Prime Minister.

Um, the UK is governed by a Parliament. The Prime Minister is nominated by the party in power - currently the Labour party. Whist not a guarantee, Gordon Brown is widely "expected" to win the nomination of his party (as I said in the FPP.)
posted by three blind mice at 8:20 AM on September 7, 2006


Jack_mo, I'd have thought the squabbles of the last day or so - or should that be decade? - have made Brown appear pretty much unelectable. I get the impression that the electorate has a similar attitude towards the Conservatives now as they had towards Labour in 1997 - they're suspicious of the new makeover, but they want to believe and feel overwhelming nausea at the prospect of the Government having another term.
posted by stammer at 8:27 AM on September 7, 2006


Now if we could only convince Bush to follow suit...
posted by rand at 7:44 AM PST on September 7


What, you want Bush to publicly announce that he won't continue his presidency past the next presidential election?

D'okay.

Or, he could follow suit by being president for 10 years...would you like that?
posted by Deathalicious at 8:27 AM on September 7, 2006


three blind mice - Brown, if he becomes Prime Minister, which looks likely, won't be 'nominated' by anyone as anything. He will be elected by the Labour Party as their leader, and will therefore become Prime Minister. There are no further steps for him to take after he is elected by the party.

Except I guess in theory the Queen could block him, if she really wanted to.
posted by altolinguistic at 8:33 AM on September 7, 2006


For the record, the Mandelson/mushy peas story was a joke made up by Neil Kinnock.
posted by Mocata at 8:34 AM on September 7, 2006


How come no one votes for the LibDems?
posted by delmoi at 8:39 AM on September 7, 2006


If there is a single Briton who does not know what mushy peas are, irrespective of class or upbringing, I will bare my arse on the town hall steps.
posted by vbfg at 8:42 AM on September 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


I left England after my wife failed to register a complaint with police for a stolen bag. They asked what proof she had that it was stolen and that she wasn't just making shit up. This in the name of bringing crime statistics down.

And vbfg, what is this Mushy Pea you mentioned? What does Pakistan's president going to the loo have to do with your bare arse?
posted by trol at 8:48 AM on September 7, 2006


That's quite a low tolerance threshold for bureaucracy, trol. Sadly, since you've now left Britain we'll need a scan of your passport before we get vbfg to bare his arse in sunny Bradford.
posted by athenian at 9:09 AM on September 7, 2006


Resigning junior minister blogs about it, receives mixed support.
posted by patricio at 9:11 AM on September 7, 2006


Snopes has this to say on the Mandelson/guacamole story.
posted by biffa at 9:13 AM on September 7, 2006


In other news, ursine mammals defecate in tree-rich environments. But I must admit the storm in a tea-cup over Tom Watson and the PPS's has been interesting. They all want a job with Gordon, clearly.

I suspect the avocado/mushy peas story is apocryphal and stems from a line by Andrew Rawnsley in Servants of the People where he contrasts John Prescott's northern mushy-peas approach with Blair's appetising Islington guacamole. He's not had that sheltered a life...

I left England after my wife failed to register a complaint with police for a stolen bag. They asked what proof she had that it was stolen and that she wasn't just making shit up. This in the name of bringing crime statistics down.

Forces all routinely screen out crimes, you know, so they can prioritise where they put their resources - it's not such an unreasonable question to ask since I bet a fair amount of stuff that gets reported stolen is actually just mislaid. And it would only bring recorded crime stats down, which isn't the measure the Government uses to measure crime levels (there's a big self-reporting victimisation survey that does the job instead).

posted by greycap at 9:23 AM on September 7, 2006


delmoi, some people voted for the Lib Dems in Scotland, they got into coalition government here, and then they proved just as bad as Labour or the Tories (examples: 1, 2, 3, 4)
posted by imperium at 9:24 AM on September 7, 2006


Well, the police thing was just icing on the cake. The A&E asking us to wait 8 hours to see the burnt skin on my daughter's forehand was an important factor. Trains being broken in london every single weekend as well, the list is actually quite long, I packed my bags last may and went to new york where I have excellent healthcare, police that react to my requests immediately and a 24 hour train system without coverage gaps even on the long weekends (as opposed to fake strikes around bank holiday weekends). Oh and taxes, those communist bastards!
posted by trol at 9:31 AM on September 7, 2006


The focus here should be Tony Blair's attempts to wriggle out from a difficult position - many in his party want him to leave soon, he wants to go out on a high and cement his reputation (ha!), as catalogued in that leaked dossier majig a couple of days ago. Today's news isn't news, it's spin, in an attempt to kill the Thatcher downfall scenario hinted at by yesterday's resignations by basically saying nothing in a formal announcement style.

I used to hate mushy peas until I went to see Chas n' Dave live. Before the gig my friend insisted I had mushy peas with my fish n' chips, becasue y'know its Chas n' Dave tonight. And now I love them as much as I love the Lords of Mockney.

/sorry to hear about your UK exp. trol - did you try mushy peas whilst you were there?
posted by einekleine at 9:36 AM on September 7, 2006


I packed my bags last may and went to new york where I have excellent healthcare

What's the deductible?
posted by cillit bang at 9:39 AM on September 7, 2006


I'd give my left nut for a Parlimentary system in the US

There are pros and cons.

For example, until recently, as the Majority Leader in the lower house, you would have had Prime Minister Tom DeLay.
posted by meehawl at 9:45 AM on September 7, 2006


Or would it be the Speaker? These roles are not exactly congruent with those in a parliamentary system.
posted by meehawl at 9:47 AM on September 7, 2006


Well, veedubya already has it covered, but...

Guess again jack_mo. Blair's announcement is in response to the resignations and this week's letter from Labour MPs calling for his resignation. But if you weren't aware of yesterday's news, you can be forgiven for not recognizing today's.

Oh, naff off, of course I know that: it doesn't change the fact that Blair did not announce his resignation today. He restated the fact that he still intends to resign on some future date.


Um, the UK is governed by a Parliament. The Prime Minister is nominated by the party in power - currently the Labour party. Whist not a guarantee, Gordon Brown is widely "expected" to win the nomination of his party (as I said in the FPP.)


Right, so 'Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, is expected to be nominated by Labour party as the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.' actually means 'Should Gordon Brown be elected in the future to the position of Labour Party leader, and should the Labour Party win the next general election, he will be the Prime Minister.'

Stop trying to backtrack - your post was either innacurate due to a woeful misunderstanding of the situation or just plain disingenuous.
posted by jack_mo at 9:55 AM on September 7, 2006


The A&E asking us to wait 8 hours to see the burnt skin on my daughter's forehand

How many hands does your daughter have? Does she have afthands as well? Midhands?

Or would it be the Speaker?

It would be the Speaker.

Except it wouldn't. The PM is the leader of the national party in Britain. In the US, there is effectively no leader of the national party. Hell, strictly speaking there's no national party at all except during the conventions. The DNC and RNC are sort of caretakers during the interims.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:57 AM on September 7, 2006


This is the moment of The Fall; you can't look into Blair's face and not know it. While Bush is practically deliquescing into a puddle of dementia, Blair has hardened to granite.

It's one of the deep, dark mysteries of world politics, Blair's subjugation to Bush, despite Blair's obviously greater stature. I really don't know -- could it possibly, conceivably be the mystery that 'dare not speak it's name?'
posted by jamjam at 11:03 AM on September 7, 2006


The PM is the leader of the national party in Britain

Not necessarily - it depends on how you define "Leader". For example, in the UK, until quite recently the the Conservative and Unionist Party had "co-equal" leaders, being the elected heads of both the peers and MPs in either house. It took a constitutional crisis and the secession of Ireland from the UK to "demote" the Lords leader to a minor functionary.

The Speaker of the lower house is usually assigned a subserviant role to the leader of the government and is expected to be more impartial and even, quite frequently, is a member of a political party not in government or coalition. For example, Ireland's Ceann Comhairle has frequently been a "compromise" candidate from outside the ruling party.

A Prime Minister is simply the most senior minister of the executive branch of government. In most countries, including the UK, this does not necessarily have to be an MP or peer, but it usually is, especially in recent times. The UK's Prime Minister's "official title" these days is First Lord of the Treasury.

In a non-UK-influenced parliamentary system, usually headed by a stronger executive (such as France or Korea), the Prime Minister is in fact appointed by the President and operates more like muscle than leader. In these systems, they are sometimes not from the Presidential party.
posted by meehawl at 11:16 AM on September 7, 2006


Are Gordon Brown's economocs Neoliberal, or did I mistakenly get that impression?
posted by Kwantsar at 11:16 AM on September 7, 2006


It's one of the deep, dark mysteries of world politics, Blair's subjugation to Bush, despite Blair's obviously greater stature. I really don't know -- could it possibly, conceivably be the mystery that 'dare not speak it's name?'

The way I heard it, and the only way that I can explain to myself Blair's poodle-like behaviour towards Bush, is that the Bush family are legendary for never forgetting a favour. If you take care of them, they'll take care of you. I heard that John Major, as his reward for supporting Bush The Elder during the first Gulf War, was given a cushy directorship with a healthy stipend, on the board of one of the many Bush companies. Blair is looking to secure his future in the same way.

I can't remember where I first heard this, but it was around the time that he got a £3.5m mortgage for a London house. At the time, people were wondering how he intended to pay for it.
posted by veedubya at 11:16 AM on September 7, 2006


...actually means 'Should Gordon Brown be elected in the future to the position of Labour Party leader, and should the Labour Party win the next general election, he will be the Prime Minister.'

The next general election need not have aything to do with it. If Labour change their leader before that election, which is as close to a certainty as it's possible to get, we will have a new Prime Minister before that election.
posted by vbfg at 11:17 AM on September 7, 2006


Er, no, jack_mo. If Gordon Brown is elected leader of the Labour Party before the next general election then - unless a huge number of Blairite Labour MPs suddenly quit the party and force an election in protest - he will be the Prime Minister.

While the two positions (leader of the ruling party and Prime Minister) aren't constitutionally tied, in all practicality they are. Certainly, there's absolutely no need for them to win another general election first.

But yeah, the false immediacy suggested in the FPP is a ridiculous bit of overstatement.
posted by flashboy at 11:18 AM on September 7, 2006


What, you want Bush to publicly announce that he won't continue his presidency past the next presidential election?

D'okay.

Or, he could follow suit by being president for 10 years...would you like that?
posted by Deathalicious


Why, yes, that's exactly what I meant! I had no idea you could read my mind. What am I thinking right now? Go on, give it a guess...
posted by rand at 11:26 AM on September 7, 2006


By the way, in the UK the current Conservative Party Chair is Francis Maude. The Labour Party used to combine the two roles but split them. Tony Blair is the Leader of the Labour Party, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party is Ann Clwyd.

As jack_mo points out, the UK Labour Party operates a quite byzantine election process that features threshold and multiple voting, national, regional, and union blocs, an electoral college, and single transferrable vote just to spice things up. It's never a sure thing predicting a successor. By comparison, the feudal structrure of the Tories is quite straightforward.
posted by meehawl at 11:26 AM on September 7, 2006


"Lap dog, lap dog whatcha going to do...."
posted by edgeways at 11:30 AM on September 7, 2006


i've written my thoughts here- self link but i'm not writing it all out again.

the mushy peas story is a joke told by niel kinnock about mandelson. sadly not true.
posted by quarsan at 11:36 AM on September 7, 2006


meehawl: "For example, until recently, as the Majority Leader in the lower house, you would have had Prime Minister Tom DeLay."

Erm, no. Not least because Tom Delay probably wouldn't be electible by UK standards in several ways. First, I doubt anybody even in the deepest, filthiest depths of Republican depravity1 would have voted for a party led by Tom Delay. Second, given the style of run-off elections used in the UK, which are very different than in the US (and somewhat different even than in most of Europe), the Republican Party would probably be broken up almost immediately. (So would the Democratic party, frankly.)

1. By which I mean: Arizona. By the way, since there are some non-USians in this thread, please help spread the word amongst yourselves, since you've never been here and don't seem to understand: the deepest, filthiest depths of Republican depravity are in Arizona, not Texas. As quaint as it is to believe that an accent makes a person stupid, there's a huge, healthy, strong liberal bent to a big chunk of Texas. Texans also happen to be pretty damned smart, too. George Bush is not one of them, in case you're keeping score. Arizona, on the other hand, is probably the most racist state in the union. And they don't even have an accent.
posted by koeselitz at 11:47 AM on September 7, 2006


kwantsar: it depends if raising taxes, introducing a minimum wage and giving a lump sum at birth to every child in the country is neo-liberal.
posted by patricio at 12:02 PM on September 7, 2006


koeselitz, I live in Arizona and I can testify; I'm surrounded by ignorant, loud-mouthed racists. Like when they boycotted MLK day back in 1990. I was only 9 at the time, so I didn't have much of a hand in that. I think I lived in California too at the time, so that should absolve me completely. =)
posted by Bageena at 1:04 PM on September 7, 2006


>Arizona, on the other hand, is probably the most racist state in >the union.

Huh. I heard Idaho.

(doing my bit to keep this "discussion" all over the place)
posted by hackly_fracture at 1:25 PM on September 7, 2006


Idaho is more of the gun-totin' libertarian, conservationist wing of the republican party (Aryan nations aside). Arizona is the racist, white bread, Jebus-worshipping, wing of the party. Try to keep track.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:40 PM on September 7, 2006


I'm going to have to agree with everyone who's saying that TBM is an idiot.

This is such a non-story. Everyone has known that Blair will have to leave by next May. He's now finally announced that he is going to do so, but won't say exactly when, just as he has refused to say so ever since people started asking a long time ago.

The only aspect that would be news is him announcing a departure date, which everyone wants him to do. That would be news.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:12 PM on September 7, 2006


Blair has never been to, but always wanted to go to Idaho.
posted by homunculus at 7:59 PM on September 7, 2006


To refresh the memory of any Mefites old enough to remember 1990 - John Major was elected leader of the Conservative Party at the end of November, and became Prime Minister without the need for a general election.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom isn't a job you get elected to. It's a job you acquire if:

a) You're the recognised leader of your party
b) Your party has enough MPs in the House of Commons to be able to form a government, and
c) You managed to get elected in your own constituency (Blair represents Sedgefield in County Durham, Major was MP for Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, for example).

b) and c) only really become critical following a general election. Right now we're talking about a).

Still somewhat stunned that some of this is news to USians. Canada works more or less the same way, right?

Incidentally, nobody thought that Major was anything more than a caretaker. As it turned out, he had been personally responsible for so little of Thatcher's outrages that in the 1992 election he proved very difficult to attack, and won a surprise victory.

(We'll leave the discussion about how incredibly statistically unlikely -- Really? The top 20 marginals which went his way were also the first 20 in alphabetical order? How odd -- the pro-Tory swings which got him elected were for another time.)
posted by genghis at 8:22 PM on September 7, 2006


c) You managed to get elected in your own constituency

You can in theory be PM without being an MP. In much the same way that in theory you can be chosen US Speaker of the House without being a member of the House.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:30 AM on September 8, 2006


Indeed - the only qualification for being PM is being appointed to the position by HM The Queen. Now in practice, she only appoints the leader of the party with an overall majority in parliament, or the head of a coallition, and it would almost be impossible to be in that position nowadays and not be an MP - but technically it is her decision - which really only makes much difference when there isn't a party or coallition in overall control...
posted by prentiz at 6:03 AM on September 8, 2006


ROU_Xenophobe is sort of right - you need to be a member of parliament, not necessarily of the Commons. If you can be appointed a member of the House of Lords quickly enough, you're OK.

Prentiz, not really, no. Magna Carta plus William of Orange places the PM squarely inside the Palace of Westminster.
posted by genghis at 6:54 AM on September 8, 2006


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